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More Bar-B-Q, Less Morrissey

05:01 PM Monday 4/27/09 |   |

Although Coachella’s country sibling Stagecoach generally draws a much more well behaved crowd of performers and fans (plus a Bar-B-Q contest!), it wasn’t without its moments.

Entertainment Weekly music blogger Whitney Pastorek reports solid sets on the last night of last weekend’s rave up from acts like Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Kenny Chesney, plus Kid Rock, well, being Kid Rock.

First up, Zac Brown Band:

ZBB opened with their lightning-fast cover of "Devil Went Down to Georgia" – continuing my longstanding Stagecoach tradition of seeing young radio-friendly acts on the mainstage covering songs that were just performed by their originators in tents elsewhere on the grounds -- then went on to play basically the same set I saw them do at the Mint in December.

With the crowd booming the words of "Chicken Fried" all around me, I took a moment to mentally thank the brave men and women of our armed forces for fighting for our freedom so that the terrorists do not come and take away our fried chicken.

Pastorek writes up-and-comers Lady Antebellum also continued their rise up the country ladder with a crowd pleasing set.

Both vocalists are really starting to look like they're fronting a band with a future – [Hillary] Scott especially has done her homework and is now copping both the fashion sense and the knee-bending swagger of Jennifer Nettles – and even though they're still having to flesh out the set with covers (Dwight Yoakam, Mellencamp, Doobie Brothers), by the time they got to "Love Don't Live Here Anymore," the masses were up and out of their lawn chairs, arms writhing in the sun.

“American Idol” alum Miranda Lambert, who’s been working hard to amp up her image, delivered the goods and then threatened to put the hurt on Kid Rock when she joined him on stage for a number.

When the speakers start blasting Beyonce's "Ring the Alarm," it can only be time for one thing, and that thing is not Ralph Stanley. With her rifle-butt mic stand and increasing penchant for tossing her hair a la "Toxic"-era Britney Spears, Miranda Lambert seems bound and determined to kick down the walls of any pretty-girl box you might want to put her in.

Still, it would be a mistake to consign her to angry-grrrl territory, since she can turn on the emotional dime of "More Like Her," bring the serious honky-tonk in "Dry Town," or challenge the Nashville notion of what "sad" sounds like as her licorice-stick belt bores through "Dead Flowers."

So what happened between Rock and Lambert?

At one point, he tried to funny about with a lyric and cracked himself up; Miranda went deadpan. "Stop messin' with me," she said. "I'll shoot you." It was the line of the night, in a night so full of lines I stopped writing down half the crazy s--- the Son of Detroit said about three songs in.

  • Kid Rock

    What's going on behind those shades? Kid Rock attempts to squeeze "the entire history of modern recorded music into an hour and a half."
    April 26, 2009

    (AP Photo)

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Which brings us to Kid Rock’s set, which apparently left much of the audience wondering if he hadn’t indulged in something left behind by last weekend’s crowd.

Why was Kid Rock a fiasco? Seriously, if we had the time, I'd just copy my notes and paste them directly.

Instead, how about we do this: You assume that he chainsawed his way through "Bawitdaba," "Cowboy," "Only God Knows Why," and any other song you might casually recognize, and I'll throw in that he also played electric guitar, rapped, danced like late-period Michael Jackson, played acoustic guitar, played someone else's electric guitar while it was still strapped to the someone else, played drums, scratched on a DJ turntable, encouraged the treating of women as objects, covered David Allan Coe, covered Deep Purple, covered Ted Nugent, operated a vocoder, insulted Coldplay, Radiohead, Britney Spears, and Madonna, wore three different hats, stopped the show so we could greet our neighbors like in church, needed a ponytail holder badly, made me miss Brad Paisley's trenchant wit, sang one song so vulgar I thought the older couple next to me was going to start crying, and absolutely sucked every time he attempted to approximate playing country music.

Now for the good news: All of this amounted to a show so self-indulgent and unfocused it was riveting.

Still, I'd invite Bob to my backyard barbecue any time he cares to show up, for the same reason it's always fun to have drunks at a party: At least you know it won't be boring. Next time, I'd ask him to leave "I'd Like to F--- You One More Time"/"Half Your Age" out of the set list, however, because I don't like to watch old people cry.

  • Kenny Chesney

    Everbody knows the guy in the white hat always saves the day.
    April 26, 2009

    (AP Photo)

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Thank goodness for Pastorek and the rest of the crowd Kenny Chesney was around to pick up the pieces.

This is feel-good music, performed in a no-muss, no-fuss style by a 12 piece band that never overshadows Chesney's straightforward, muscular style.

"If you watch TV, you know the whole world has got problems," Kenny said about halfway through, the most chatting he'd done so far. "But here tonight? We don't gotta solve a single one of them."

The crowd roared, bent down to pick up their spare beer off the ground, roared some more.

Maybe next year, Coachella and Stagecoach organizers can set up a special self-indulgence tent featuring co-headliners Morrissey and Kid Rock. I know I’d pay to see that show.

Read Pastorek’s complete report of Sunday night at Stagecoach here.


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